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Don't Let Fear Hold You Back from Becoming a Successful Writer - Just Write (and Few Other Tips)!

Updated on October 3, 2019
Cyndi10 profile image

The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.


Fear of Becoming a Successful Writer

You want to be a successful writer, but your subconscious mind is holding the seeds of fear and they threaten to become tangled weeds of terror. No easy task to stop the stultifying fear, as many before you have found. When it comes to fear of being successful, the subconscious is a power to be reckoned with. Stephen King said, "I am convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing...Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation."

You fully believe that you have the imagination for writing copious material because the characters, the ideas, the plots are with you, much like the force was with Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. But, just like Luke, there is something holding you back. You have the great idea for a plot or for an article, yet you do nothing. You don’t pick up the pen or the computer - you are paralyzed. You let excuses override your urge to write.

Do you realize that it is fear that is actually stopping you?

Successful writers shut down that subconscious naysayer. They worked and hacked their way through the fear, no matter the source.

There are commonalities among most writers and the fears tend to be very similar. In this article you and I explore a few of those fears. Hopefully, once you have put a name to them, those fears are banished and you let the writer that you are take over.

Fear #1 - They won't like my work!

If you have made the decision to become a writer, the first thing you must realize is that not everyone is going to like what you write. Wrapped up neatly, that is called the fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear of rejection might be the fear that is holding the would-be writer - you - back. You become a little paranoid and it often appears that everyone becomes a critic as soon as you mention that you are a writer. Keep in mind that everyone can find the mistakes someone else made. As humans, it’s what we do.

Just remember that if your writing is critiqued and rejected by someone who is not a bona fide critic, temper the value you place on their critique, even as you listen to their comments with an open mind. Keep it about the writing. Critiques can be valuable. But what is even more valuable is to remember that you are creating material; you are writing. You are operating out of a place of love and passion for what you do. Chances are your critics are not. Shove the fear of rejection aside, smile at them (or not) and just keep writing.

The late ScFi writer, Ray Bradbury, shares insights on writing.

Can You Make a Living as a Writer?

Fear # 2 - I'll never make a living writing.

Another fear is that you will never make a living as a writer. Here’s the thing, there are many writers today who are making a wonderful living as a writer. As it turns out, it is easier than ever before because of the many additional avenues that are available to writers today. Look around you. Content is no longer confined to print or spoken word. There is the marvelous platform called the Internet. This is no surprise if you are of a young age, but the older writer must often be convinced to make a paradigm shift.

Content is everywhere on the Internet, some good, some bad. What you need to know is that not everyone is capable creating good content, but if you are, there is someone willing to pay you for that content.

Treat your writing as if it is a business. This is especially crucial to anyone who is a freelance writer offering professional writing services to the public. Yes, I know, you are the creative type that clings to the romantic notion that you can and should only write when and where the spirit moves you. That’s all well and good if you have another source of income like a Trust fund or a traditional job and you have infinite time. Those scenarios notwithstanding, you need to acquire the discipline to write even when you are not in the mood or the spirit hasn’t hit you if you want a paycheck.

Which brings me back to treating your writing like the business it is. Write the necessary copy or articles to pay the bills. Wait for the spirit move you to write the next bestseller, if that is your goal, and even then you must have discipline to write consistently, because, truthfully, the spirit may not move you often enough to get the novel written.

Discipline - One of the Tools for Successful Writing

Fear # 3 - I don't have the discipline to write consistently.

If you have something to say, you can develop the discipline to put it on paper. Have a goal and a vision. It will always be difficult to pick up the pen or open the computer if you don’t have an end in sight. Because you are creative, you will always have good ideas, great plots and wonderful first sentences, but it will never go any further if you don’t have a clear idea – a written idea - of what your goal and your vision is. It can be any number of things: have a fabulous income, become famous, manage a modest or even very hefty mortgage or just be heard, to name a few.

You are in control of your vision, your goal and your writing.

Becoming a successful writer, letting go of that debilitating fear, is not easy. However, it is as rewarding as you imagine. What you need to overcome the fear are the mental tools - very simple, accessible tools. The tools all originate with you.

To just write and become successful, you will need:

  • Unwavering discipline.
  • Unshakable belief that you are a writer (or fake it “til you do have the belief).
  • Time set aside to write.
  • The ability to hush the voice that says you can’t do it because you’re not smart enough, not clever enough, not creative enough, etc.
  • A vision and goal of what you want to accomplish with your writing, whether it is writing a novel or writing copy for a business.
  • The knowledge that words are POWER! What you write will change the world in some way. Whether it's a huge change that reaches many or a small change targeted at one person, always know that your words make a difference.

Now that you have the tools to become the successful writer and you have overcome (or at least quieted) your fears, sidle up to that Muse, lock onto your vision, activate your creativity and start writing. Now!

The fear of being a successful writer can make you feel very small.
The fear of being a successful writer can make you feel very small. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Cynthia B Turner


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